Can’t . . . or Won’t? Part One

No offense, but some of you don’t have any business reading this today. Normally, I do not restrict my words to any special group of people. But now I must. This time it is for Christians only. Everything I write from now to the end of these readings on excuses is strictly for the believer in Christ. If you’re not there yet, you can skip parts one and two because you lack a major ingredient: the power of God.

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Of Parrots and Eagles, Part One

We are running shy of eagles, and we’re running over with parrots. Content to sit safely on our evangelical perches and repeat in rapid-fire falsetto our religious words, we are fast becoming overpopulated with bright-colored birds having soft bellies, big beaks, and little heads.

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An ”Affair,” Part Two

In Part One, we acknowledged that our society has embraced a subtle lie about affairs, believing that not only is the grass greener on the other side, it’s acceptable to hop the fence. What’s more, believers are just as likely as nonbelievers to do the hopping. But infidelity isn’t an “affair,” remember; it’s adultery. And it’s deadly to a marriage. Robert J. Levin and Alexander Lowen noted three specific ways.

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Who Cares?

Who really cared? His was a routine admission to busy Bellevue Hospital. A charity case, one among hundreds. A bum from the Bowery with a slashed throat. The Bowery . . . last stop before the morgue. Synonym of filth, loneliness, cheap booze, drugs, and disease. The details of what had happened in the predawn of that chilly winter’s morning were fuzzy. The nurse probably shrugged it off.

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A Midwinter Poem

AS WE MOVE TOWARD the close of this year, we must refocus our priorities. Here is an anchor passage for us as we end one year and begin another: Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. HEBREWS 10:23–24

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Perspective

Almost every week I come into contact with people who have been misled, thinking that success depends solely upon talent or brilliance or education. But the list doesn’t end there. For some it’s getting the breaks, pulling the right strings, having the right personality, being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people, playing their cards right.

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Mortality

Life is so short. We really don’t have many years. And to spend them doing dumb stuff seems like such a waste. I was intrigued several years ago when reading about some ghost towns littered across the plains of Nevada. The writer pointed out that there was every indication between the middle and the end of the 1800s that these towns would flourish forever. There were people by the thousands.

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Resentment

Leo Held was a paragon of respectability. He was a middle-aged, hard-working lab technician who had worked at the same Pennsylvania paper mill for nineteen years. Having been a Boy Scout leader, an affectionate father, a member of the local fire brigade, and a regular church-goer, he was admired as a model in his community. Until . . .

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Insight

Are you ready for a surprise? You blink twenty-five times every minute. Each blink takes you about one-fifth of a second. Therefore, if you take a ten-hour automobile trip, averaging forty miles per hour, you will drive twenty miles with your eyes closed. I know a fact far more surprising than that. Some people go through life with their eyes closed.

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Stumbling

Nothing damages our dignity like stumbling! I have seen people, dressed to the hilt, stumble and fall flat on their faces as they were walking to church. I have witnessed serious and gifted soloists, stepping up to the pulpit with music in hand, stumble and fall as the sheets of music sailed like maple leaves in an October breeze. I’ve watched a sure and winning touchdown by a fleet split-end—nobody within fifteen yards—foiled by a stumble.

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